Turkey elections live: Erdogan celebrates victory in Istanbul
After two presidential elections and a parliamentary one to boot in the last two weeks, Middle East Eye is closing its live blog.
Erdogan is victorious, his coalition has a majority in parliament and now he has five years of power to add onto the 20 he’s already had.
For those wondering what happens next, parliament will convene on Thursday, Erdogan’s going to take an oath on Friday, and he’s expected to name his new cabinet that night.
Before we leave you, here’s a snap analysis from MEE’s Turkey Bureau Chief Ragip Soylu, who already has his eye on the future:
Erdogan appeared in Istanbul for the first time after polls indicated a comfortable win in the runoff elections, and what did he talk about? Another election, the municipal ones set for March 2024.
“Istanbul I’m in love with you and we will get you back,” he said, referring to the fact that the opposition controls the city.
He called on his supporters to rally for the municipal elections and take back the large cities his Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost in 2019.
That’s why Erdogan wins elections. Because he is always a step ahead. He takes everything very seriously, and runs a campaign based on polling and research. Yes, one of the main assets is his gut feeling and instincts, but he worked with a very good campaign team that prepared a strong strategy. Of course, he had certain advantages, such as state resources, and being able to offer jobs, wage hikes, free gas etc. But the opposition also had advantages: a president that is stained by a dragging economic crisis with a poor track record of human rights and a botched earthquake response.
Kilicdaroglu, on the other hand, didn’t have a runoff strategy and crafted a spontaneous campaign. It took four days for him to come out of the shadows after the first-round failure. He made an unholy alliance with an ultranationalist to cross the finish line, which helped him a bit, but also damaged him too, as you could see in the lower turnout in Kurdish-majority areas.
People close to Kilicdaroglu would say he won a victory, since he single-handedly got 48 percent of the vote - a first for the opposition. Yet the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader failed to congratulate Erdogan, nor did he concede. The 74-year-old also didn’t resign; he only said he was here to stay. The fate of his Table of Six opposition alliance isn’t clear.
If the opposition wants to retain the major cities like Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya, they need to find a way to stick together. Otherwise, Erdogan will have an easy time next year.
Turkey’s Supreme Election Board has formally declared Erdogan as the winner based on preliminary results.
With 99.43 percent of the votes counted, the board’s chairman Ahmet Yener says we have:
- Erdogan: 52.14 percent
- Kilicdaroglu: 47.86 percent
Kemal Kilicdaroglu has appeared at the CHP headquarters and is making a televised address. He concedes defeat and thanks his supporters.
“I will continue my fight for this country. I ask everyone to support the democracy. I thank our alliance partners, our voters and supporters, and the women who are the real heroes of our democratic campaign,” he says.
“This election clearly indicated that the nation has a real will to fight and change the autocratic government."
Kilicdaroglu adds: “I would like to see my 25 million voters stand up and walk proudly. We are here.”
Though the 74-year-old’s future is uncertain after this defeat, he says: “I will continue my path”.
Opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu is set to speak in about 15 minutes. While we wait, here’s an update on Anadolu’s results with 99.17 percent of the votes counted.
Looks like a classic 52-48 split.
• Erdogan: 52.08
• Kilicdaroglu: 47.92
We’ve had a few more world leaders congratulate Erdogan now, and unsurprisingly, like the Qatari emir, they are his close allies.
Hungary’s Victor Orban, one of the few people who sees things Erdogan’s way in Nato, has called the Turkish president’s win “unquestionable”.
The office of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said: "We wish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued success during his new tenure!" Turkey has had an active role in Somalia in recent years when many other countries kept it at arm’s length.
From Tripoli, Abdelhamid Dbeiba, prime minister of one of Libya’s two competing governments, has also offered his congratulations.
Turkey is a major player in western Libya, intervening in a 2019-2022 civil war to prop up the UN-recognised administration that preceded Dbeiba.
In his victory speech, Erdogan said Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev (who Erdogan has also helped fight a war) gave him a call. We’re yet to see those congratulations from Baku in tweet form, however.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has almost certainly been elected president for a third term, is addressing a crowd of supporters in Istanbul.
Though this is in essence a victory speech, he says “the winner of this election is all 85 million strong the Turkish nation”, and that he has been given responsibility to rule for the next five years.
“We successfully completed the runoff elections. I thank my nation,” Erdogan says.
“I thank every citizen who expressed his or her will through the ballot box. I thank every member of my party. I will be deserving your confidence as I have in the past.”
The crowd are chanting “bye, bye Kemal”, taunting opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Erdogan adds another “bye” to that: “Bye, bye, bye Kemal”.
He also asks the crowd for their support in the 2024 local elections, and once again declares the CHP, HDP, IYI Party and remaining right-wing parties pro-LGBT. Echoing the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric he pursued ahead of the first round, Erdogan says “LGBT cannot infiltrate” his Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“No one can touch the family and no one can use violence against women,” he says.
In the end, the turnout for today’s vote stood at 84 percent - that’s just a couple of percent lower than on 14 May.
The rival campaigns have sought to convince supporters to remain energised and vigilant, with AKP officials previously telling MEE that one key message was: don’t leave your constituency for the summer until the last battle is won.
Places that did see a large decrease, however, were Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated areas.
Majority Kurdish areas always tend to have a lower turnout than the rest of the country, with some residents complaining of marginalisation, repression and a lack of representation.
In the first round, Kurdish-dominated areas had 81.70 percent. That dropped to 75.74 percent today.
Mardin’s turnout dropped from 82.76 percent to 78.60; Van went from 78.62 to 72.13; Batman fell from 84.93 to 80.17; and in Agri we saw 72.86 plummet to 65.72, according to Anadolu Agency.
That won’t come as a massive surprise to people following the reluctant way Kurdish parties endorsed Kilicdaroglu again for the runoff.
The opposition candidate made a tacit alliance with the pro-Kurdish HDP before the elections, who supported him from outside his Table of Six coalition. Erdogan used that Kurdish support against him, however, calling the opposition “terrorist” due to the HDP’s ideological links with the PKK armed group.
Ahead of the runoff, Kilicdaroglu won the support of the Turkish ultranationalist Victory Party, who signed an agreement with him that promised to maintain a system of choosing trustees in municipalities that Kurdish parties complain is discriminatory.
Sidar Simsek, an HDP supporter, told Yusuf Selman Inanc that the agreement between Ozdag and Kilicdaroglu had demotivated him from taking part in the election.
"The main demand of the Kurds is to remove Erdogan from power at any cost, and their focus is on ending Erdogan's rule rather than considering the consequences of a Kilicdaroglu victory," he told MEE.
You can read more about the issue in Yusuf’s piece here:
With more than 95 percent of the vote counted, Erdogan’s victory is looking more and more secure. He’s well ahead of Kilicdaroglu even on the Anka count, which had the opposition candidate leading for some time.
Anadolu (96.01 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 52.28 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 47.72 percent
Anka (95.32 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 51.52 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 48.48 percent
Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, has publicly congratulated Erdogan on winning the election, though the final results are not yet done.
“My dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, congratulations on your victory, and I wish you success in your new term, and that you achieve in it what the brotherly Turkish people aspire to in terms of progress and prosperity, and for the strong relations of our two countries to further development and growth,” Tamim, one of Erdogan’s closest international allies, tweeted.
Qatar's emir is the first world leader to congratulate Erdogan - at least publicly.
And Doha has been lit up in celebration:
With Kilicdaroglu now behind according to both Anadolu and Anka, CHP spokesperson Faik Oztrak says everyone including the government should maintain their calm. He reminds that Kilicdaroglu has won the support of one of every two people in the nation.
Ruling AKP spokesperson Omer Celik, meanwhile, accused the CHP of announcing the election’s result before the final tally. “No one should muddy the waters,” he said.
One of the most anticipated questions ahead of the run-off was how those who voted for third-placed ultranationalist, anti-refugee candidate Sinan Ogan in the first round would vote this time.
Ogan endorsed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan days before the second round. Ogan's ultranationalist, anti-refugee ally Umit Ozdag and his Victory Party, on the other hand, endorsed the opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Ozdag's party got 2.2 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections.
Preliminary analysis suggests that Ogan's votes were runaways from both Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu and they mostly went back to their more traditional candidate.
In strongholds of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) like Konya, Yozgat and Kayseri, Erdogan increased his vote share by 3-5 percent in comparison with the first round on 14 May.
In opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) strongholds like Kirklareli, Edirne and Tekirdag, Kilicdaroglu increased his vote share by 3-4 percent in comparison with the first round.
Erdogan enjoys strong support from more provinces than Kilicdaroglu, so this sort of split would give him the advantage.
What seems clear is neither Ogan nor Ozdag was able to decisively sway their voters to back either candidate, despite their respective endorsements.
The president is now ahead in Anka’s results as well as Anadolu’s with 87 percent counted. Erdogan has maintained a large lead in Anadolu’s count, though it has been shrinking.
Anadolu (87.55 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 52.93 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 47.07 percent
Anka (87.81 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 50.6 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 49.4 percent
The agencies’ totals are getting closer.
Anadolu (82.64 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 53.41 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 46.59 percent
Anka (82.49 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 49.94 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 50.06 percent
Supreme Election Board chairman Ahmet Yener says the vote count continues without a problem as data flows into its headquarters.
He says 25 percent of counted votes have been officially registered.
News agencies Anadolu and Anka are also counting the votes and are giving us results in lightning quick time (though somewhat different ones).
A few more results for you, with Anadolu and Anka so far showing quite different pictures:
Anadolu (71.45 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 54.37 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 45.63 percent
Anka (70.94 percent counted)
• Erdogan: 49.12 percent
• Kilicdaroglu: 50.88 percent